J’AI FAILLI
Author: Boris Charmatz

This text is issued from a performance in which Boris Charmatz imagined the speech that Lionel Jospin could have ? or should have ? held in 2002.

HOW ARE WE TO FORM A BLOC?
I ALMOST
I ALMOST SAID
THIS
THAT FIRST AND FOREMOST
I WAS A SOCIALIST
WITH A SOCIALIST PROJECT
BECAUSE BEING A SOCIALIST IS ALREADY QUITE HALF-HEARTED
WHEN ONE THINKS ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY
THE SOCIALIST PARTY HAS IN DEVELOPING TIES
WITH THE ANTI-GLOBALISATION
OR ALTER-GLOBALISATION MOVEMENTS AS THEY ARE CALLED
NOW
I ALMOST SAID
THAT UNDOCUMENTED PERSONS DESERVED TO BE TREATED
WITH DIGNITY
THAT A PRIME MINISTER SUCH AS MYSELF
BROUGHT TO POWER AGAINST A BACKDROP OF CONTESTATION
INITIATED BY UNDOCUMENTED PERSONS
CANNOT HESITATE
CANNOT REMAIN DISTANT
AT THE RISK OF UPSETTING
AT THE RISK OF ANGERING
AT THE RISK PERHAPS OF LOSING
THE DEMOCRATIC GAME
BUT AT THE RISK OF ASSERTING
A MODERN AND OPEN POSITION
IT IS TRUE MY PRIORITY SHOULD HAVE BEEN
THESE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN
WHO ARE ASKING FRANCE TO LET THEM JOIN IN
OUR COUNTRY’S MOMENTUM
I ALMOST CLEARLY OPPOSED THOSE WORDS
ZERO TOLERANCE THIS ZERO TOLERANCE
WHICH HYPNOTISED US ALL TO THE POINT OF PARALYSING
OUR TONGUE HOW DID WE LET
THIS WORD ESTABLISH ITSELF THE WORD ZERO TOLERANCE
WHICH CONTAINS A DOUBLE ERROR
A DOUBLE ERROR BECAUSE WHAT WE SHOULD POSSIBLY
HAVE BEEN DEBATING WAS ZERO IMPUNITY
AND IT IS CLEAR THAT WHAT MY POLITICAL ADVERSARY
HAS BENEFITED FROM IS INDEED IMPUNITY
A DOUBLE ERROR ALSO BECAUSE THE WORD
TOLERANCE SHOULD HAVE BEEN REASSERTED BY US
THE LEFT ACCORDING TO THE MEANING IT OUGHT
TO HAVE IN FRANCE TOLERANCE BEAUTIFUL TOLERANCE
THAT’S THE VALUE OF THE KIND OF LEFT WHICH KNOWS
HOW TO WELCOME AND OPEN ITS NATIONAL IDENTITY
TO PERMANENT EXCHANGE AND CREATION WITH OTHERS
TOLERANCE MUST NOT BE IMPEDED
ZERO TOLERANCE BUT ENCOURAGED IN THESE TIMES
OF CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE-EAST THESE TIMES
OF EXACERBATED GLOBAL TENSIONS OF A
RETURN TO A MORAL FRONT DEVOID OF ANY
ETHICAL BASIS
A MORALITY WHICH AMONG OTHER THINGS PREVENTS US
FROM LETTING CHILDREN FROM BEING ADOPTED BY PARENTS
UNDER THE PRETEXT THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE
THE RIGHT SEXUALITY
I ALMOST
SAID
THAT WE NEED TO REFLECT ON
THE REAL FEELING OF
INSECURITY
YOUNG PEOPLE DIE BY SUICIDE AND DRINK-DRIVING
WELL BEFORE BEING RAPED BY A HABITUAL PAEDOPHILE VIOLENCE
AGAINST WOMEN MAINLY OCCURS WITHIN THE FAMILY SPHERE
AND IN THE HOME AND THE THREATS THAT WEIGH ON
CHILDREN MAINLY COME FROM
THE FAMILY AND NOT FROM SOME
EXTERNAL SOURCE OF DANGER
POLITICS HEARS ABOUT NEWS ITEMS AND SUNDRY EVENTS BUT
CONSIDERS ITSELF IN RELATION TO A WIDER GESTURE
I ALMOST SAID SOMETHING ELSE PERHAPS I
SHOULD NOT HAVE RELIED ON MY PAST RECORD I CONTINUE TO
THINK IT’S A POSITIVE ONE BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT
IT’S ABOUT THE LEFT’S PROJECT IS A
FUNDAMENTALLY CRITICAL AND DISSATISFIED DRIVE
WE ARE NOT BROUGHT TO POWER BY
POSITIVE ASSURANCE BY THE IDEA THAT POLITICS
IS ALREADY BEING WELL EXERCISED THE LEFT CANNOT LOVE
POWER IN ITSELF FOR ITSELF FOR ITS RENEWAL
ITS FUNDAMENTAL PURPOSE IS TO GIVE EVERYONE
THE FREEDOM TO ORGANISE AND ORGANISE
THEIR FREEDOM A LEFT-WING PROJECT
IS THE WILL TO IMPACT SOCIAL STRUCTURES
AND SOCIAL DETERMINANTS THE FRAUGHT ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE ART AND
CULTURE SO THAT ALL CITIZENS MAY THEN
BE CAPABLE OF EXERCISING THIS FREEDOM AND THIS
FREE-WILL A LEFT-WING PROJECT IS
A CRITICAL PROJECT AND I MAY NOT HAVE BEEN
UP TO THE TASK OF CRITICISING THE
CURRENT SITUATION OF WHICH I AM ONE OF THE
MAIN ACTORS YET I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ON
THE VERGE OF SAYING THIS
THROUGH LAWS ON EQUALITY THE STATUS OF WOMEN
HAS BEEN ASSERTED UNDER OUR GOVERNMENT BUT
I COULD HAVE ALSO REFUSED THAT SYLVIANE
MY WIFE PLAY ALONG WITH THE RIDICULOUS GAME
ULTIMATELY WE WANTED TO SHOW THAT
THE FUTURE FIRST LADY COULD ALSO PLAY BERNADETTE’S PART
DESPITE BEING A PHILOSOPHER NO
I SHOULD HAVE ASSERTED THAT A WOMAN’S ROLE
IN POLITICS IS ABOUT HER POLITICAL TRAJECTORY
AND THAT WE DO NOT ELECT A COUPLE AT THE HEAD
OF THE STATE IT IS EVEN THE MAIN DIFFERENCE
WITH THE MONARCHIC REGIME THERE ARE NO
KINGS AND QUEENS IF YOU WANT A WOMAN
THEN ELECT HER AND NOT HER HUSBAND
BUT THERE’S MORE
BUT THERE’S MORE
AN ENTIRE DIMENSION OF THE LEFT’S ACTION IN
GOVERNMENT SINCE 1981 WAS PASSED
IN SILENCE
OUT OF FEAR OF RILING
POUJADISM OR THE LACK OF CULTURE IN THE ARTS
I KEPT QUIET
YET
DRAMATIC ARTS CENTRES
CHOREOGRAPHIC CENTRES
ART CENTRES
ALL OF THESE DECENTRALISATIONS INITIATED BY THE LEFT
COULD HAVE BEEN STATED LOUD AND CLEAR
AS A POSSIBLE WAY OF ANCHORING
CONCRETE SOCIAL ECONOMIC POLITICAL ACTION TOWARDS
A FUTURE ESTABLISHED THROUGH EDUCATION
OPEN CULTURE AND ART THERE WAS A POTENTIAL THERE
FOR ESTABLISHING A POLITICAL PROJECT FOR THE LEFT
TO THOSE WHO DO NOT SEE THE DIFFERENCE WE NEEDED TO
SHOW HOW THE NEW TOWNS AND CITIES WON
BY THE RIGHT DISMANTLE CULTURAL POLICIES
WHILE CERTAIN PIONEERING CITIES
SUCH AS RENNES OR MONTPELLIER FOUND WAYS OF LINKING
ART THE CITY THE UNIVERSITIES RESEARCH
AND CREATING A NETWORK WHICH IS
THE POTENTIAL GUARANTEE OF A CREATIVE FRANCE

I HAVE NEVER BEEN DRAWN TO ART LET ALONE
TO TWENTIETH-CENTURY ART THAT CONSTANTLY
SHIFTING FIELD YET I WAS ON THE VERGE OF SENSING THIS
THAT THERE’S AN ADEQUATION BETWEEN WHAT GUIDES
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH MODERN ART
STATE EDUCATION LEFT-WING POLITICS

CRITICAL POLITICS

A POLITICS WITH NO REAL CERTAINTIES

A POLITICS THAT KNOWS HOW TO INVENT ITSELF AND REACT
IN THE FACE OF A WORLD THAT COMES WITHOUT GUARANTEES

THIS IS OUR POTENTIAL MODEL FOR ACTION

AND INSTEAD OF THAT I ADMIT I WAS RETICENT
IN DEFENDING THESE ARTISTS ALTHOUGH THEY ARE
ALSO IN PART ACTORS OF

ETC

ETC

I DIDN’T DISCUSS THE AWKWARD KIND OF ART

INOFFENSIVE POLITICS
INOFFENSIVE ART
THE SAME SIDE OF A COIN WHICH ONLY HAS
ONE FLIP SIDE
DEFEAT
AND I STAND DOWN
THANK YOU
I AM MAKING A PERMANENT EXIT
I’M GOING DOWN
AND I’M PULLING DOWN WITH ME ALL THOSE ACTORS
OF THE ART RESEARCH AND EDUCATION WORLD
I WAS INCAPABLE OF USING FOR SYMBOLIC CAPITAL

ETC
ETC

THERE ARE FEW RIGHT-WING ARTISTS

EVEN HERE

THE ARGENTINES WANT SOCIAL CAPITAL

THE LEFT MUST EITHER FOLLOW THIS LINE OR HAVE NO EXISTENCE

TAP-DANCING BAREFOOT BEHIND
THE PLATFORM
MIC CLASPED TIGHT EVEN THOUGH IT’S DELIBERATELY
UNPLUGGED
ASYMMETRIC RICTUS
SHAKEN NEW-BORN PINNED TO THE GROUND
DRONING THE MARSEILLAISE THROUGH THE NOSE WHILE
THE MOUTH OPENS RANDOMLY

DELIVER A FEW HARMLESS JOKES BEFOREHAND

I ALMOST TOLD AN INAPPROPRIATE JOKE AND
RECITED THE SPEECH THAT LIONEL JOSPIN
DID NOT MAKE
BUT MY PAPERS HAVE AGED AND ALL THE
ISSUES NOW RESOLVED HAVE RELEGATED THIS TEXT
TO THE GARBAGE HEAP OF HISTORY

I ALMOST RECITED THE REAL SENTENCES THAT
JEAN-PIERRE RAFFARIN DECLARED WHEN
THE AVIGNON FESTIVAL WAS CANCELLED
I ALMOST RECITED THE POEM BY CHRISTOPHE TARKOS
THAT STARTS WITH
IN THAT CASE
TRY USING A SMALL SCREWDRIVER
IF IT DOESN’T WORK
TRY USING KEYS
IF THAT DOESN’T WORK
TRY WITH A PEN
IF THAT DOESN’T WORK
TRY USING A SMALL SCREWDRIVER AND THE KEYS
THEN WITH THE SMALL SCREWDRIVER THE KEYS AND A
PEN ALL AT ONCE
IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH USE YOUR FINGERS

AND WHICH ENDS BY
IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH YOU CAN TRY
SHOUTING SCREAMING SPITTING DAMNING CRYING SWEARING
IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH
ETC
ETC

I ALMOST WROTE A NEW TEXT FOR THE
NEW MOUVEMENT ISSUE

I ALMOST GAVE A STATEMENT OF THE FIRST HUNDRED DAYS
OF THE FUTURE MINISTER OF CULTURE

IT WOULD REPEAT WORD FOR WORD THE FIRST
SPEECH JACK LANG GAVE IN THE ASSEMBLÉE
BUT I AM NEITHER A WORSHIPPER
NOR AN EFFIGY-BURNING ICONOCLAST
I AM A DANCER AND WEARING MY TRACK SUIT
MY WORK CLOTHES
I TAKE THE POLITICAL VOICE I NEED TO
CARRY ON GESTICULATING
IF THIS IS WHAT DANCE NEEDS IN ORDER TO
CONTINUE TO BE IN TUNE WITH FRANCE
THE COUNTRY THAT ALMOST BUILT EUROPE

IF THE POLITICAL VOICE IS THE VOICE THAT RESOUNDS
IN EVERYONE

IN EACH PERSON

Informations:

Published in Mouvement, 27/03/2007

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